Israel warns harsher response against Gaza protest

Source: Xinhua| 2018-04-01 19:31:36|Editor: Jiaxin
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JERUSALEM, April 1 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman threatened on Sunday that Israel would escalate its response to the Palestinian protest near the fence between Gaza and Israel.

Israeli forces killed at least 16 Palestinians and injured over 1,200 others during a mass protest near the fence on Friday.

Speaking in an interview on Israel Radio, Liberman said Israel "will not cooperate with any probe committee."

His remark came after the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement on Saturday that he was "deeply concerned" about the violence and called on for an independent investigation committee.

According to Lieberman, some 90 percent of the 40,000 Palestinian protesters on Friday were officials and activists paid by the Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian organization that runs the besieged Palestinian enclave.

A Gaza-based coordination committee composed of Palestinian political factions, civil society organizations and youth groups called weeks ago for a large popular rally at nearly 700 meters away from the Israeli border fence under the title of the "Great March of Return" starting Friday.

The Friday rally was the start of a six-week long protest that is expected to reach a peak on May 15, the day Israel celebrates its statehood and Palestinians mark the forcible transfer of two-thirds of the Palestinian people and the eradication of 418 Palestinian villages.

The demonstrators demand that Palestinian refugees should be allowed the right of return to the towns and villages from which their families fled or were forcibly driven out of when the State of Israel was created in 1948.